What do you believe? Assembly Series wants to know

'This I Believe: The State of Spiritual Life at Washington University'

At any given time, thousands of people from all walks of life converge at Washington University and form our campus community. Each brings his or her unique mix of cultural, familial, social, economic, educational and religious influences that form the basis of his or her belief system.

That belief system may or may not be spiritual in nature, and may be in a state of flux, especially for freshmen finding themselves in a secular academic environment for the first time.

Rabbi Avi Orlow (left) and the Rev. Gary Braun will team up to lead an Assembly Series discussion on spirituality at the University at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, in Graham Chapel. Before the event, participants are encouraged to think about and bring to the discussion their own set of beliefs – religious, secular and anything in between.

To explore the state of spiritual life at the University, two campus ministers, Rabbi Avi Orlow of Hillel and the Rev. Gary Braun of the Catholic Student Center (CSC), will share their beliefs and guide an open discussion, “This I Believe: The State of Spiritual Life at Washington University,” for the Assembly Series.

The event, free and open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, in Graham Chapel. Amy Heath-Carpentier, a career development specialist with the Career Center, will moderate.

Orlow and Braun encourage campus members to think about their own set of beliefs — religious, secular and anything in between — before the forum so there can be meaningful dialogue between the campus ministers and the students.

The forum itself will leave time for audience participation. In addition, Orlow and Braun will contribute to a Student Life op-ed article for the Oct. 12 issue and encourage others to contribute their submissions, either through Student Life or at the forum.

“We invite all thoughts and beliefs to be heard,” Orlow said. “A belief system can be completely devoid of religious or spiritual characteristics or deeply religious in nature. We want to create an honest dialogue.”

After Orlow and Braun deliver their comments, Heath-Carpentier will invite comments and questions from the audience.

Orlow is the Rabbi of St. Louis Hillel, an organization that seeks to maximize opportunities for Jewish students to explore, celebrate and sanctify life in a Jewish way.

Located in the Alvin & Jeanette Goldfarb Hillel Center, 6300 Forsyth Blvd., Hillel serves students from all area colleges and universities.

Braun has directed the CSC, also called the Newman Center, since 1991. CSC, located at 6352 Forsyth Blvd., serves as a community not only for Catholic formation but also as a welcoming community for students of all faiths.

As a career development specialist, Heath-Carpentier is influenced by her diverse professional background, including academic advising, software development and teaching religious studies, women’s studies and history at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

For more information on this or future Assembly Series programs, visit assemblyseries.wustl.edu, or call 935-4620.